Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi has been nominated for the Champion of Freedom Award by a pan-African organisation Africa Heritage Society (AHS), The Nation reported on Friday.
The award will be presented during Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday—July 18 2011, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Muluzi is currently undergoing medical treatment at Cape Town in South Africa.
Son to the ex-president, Atupele Muluzi, told the paper that his father received a letter dated May 24 2011, informing him that he had been nominated for the award in recognition of his contribution to the democratisation of Malawi.
“On behalf of the Africa Heritage Society Salute Awards Committee, it is my distinct pleasure to inform you that you have been nominated as a recipient of the ‘Champion of Freedom Award’ in recognition of your contribution to the democratisation of Malawi through peaceful means and shaping the future of Africa,” the letter reads according to The Nation.
“We plan to confer the award to you on 18th July 2011, which coincides with former [South African] president Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday month.”
Muluzi is waiting for doctors to assess his condition to determine if he can receive the award in person, his son said.
Atupele quoted the Heritage Society as stressing the importance of recognising and honouring important leaders when they are still alive.
Previous recipients of the award include Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda.
The younger Muluzi, who is also deputy parliamentary leader of former ruling UDF, was recently given an honorary membership by AHS in recognition for his interest to bring about change in Africa especially inspiring the next generation.
Muluzi was a catalyst in the fight against one party rule and was the first multiparty president. He ruled Malawi for two five-year terms between 1994 and 2004, after he defeated dictator Kamuzu Banda .
He is also credited for consolidating democracy during his rule by establishing democracy institutions such as Office o f the Ombudsman, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi Human Rights Commission and also promoting freedom of expression.
He also restored rule of law and promoted human rights.
His successor and incumbent Bingu wa Mutharika is being accused by human rights campaigners, donors and faith leaders of sliding Malawi back to dictatorship.
But Mutharika in 2010 during celebrations of the country independence conferred upon Muluzi the award of the Most Excellent Grand Commander of the Nation – the highest civilian honour to Malawian – honouring Muluzi for his contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.—(Reporting by Green Muheya, Nyasa Times)